Monday, May 29, 2006
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs we are losing our WWII veterans at a rate of over 1,000 a day. As with every generation that is tested by conflict the men and women of that generation have much to pass along to those who follow. Today in parades and ceremonies throughout this country these walking pages of history demonstrate a sense of honor, duty and commitment by remembering their follow shipmates and comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice. A sacrifice made in defense of the ideas and principles embodied by their country, The United States Of America.
This Memorial Day may be one of the last in which the U.S Submarine Force has any surviving Congressional Metal of Honor recipients, the remaining hero being Rear Admiral Eugene Bennett Fluckey who is currently struggling with a prolonged illness. The following are the recipients of the Congressional Metal of Honor while serving in the U.S Submarine Service.
WWI – Congressional Metal of Honor recipient
Torpedoman Second Class Henry Breault
WWII - Congressional Metal of Honor recipients
Captain John Cromwell (awarded posthumously)
Commander Sam Dealey (awarded posthumously)
Commander Eugene Fluckey
Commander Howard Gilmore (awarded posthumously)
Commander Richard O'Kane
Commander Lawson P. Ramage
Commander George Street
The above recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor are representative of the submariner’s heroism and sacrifice. We can document the sacrifice in sheer numbers of boats and men lost, but by the nature of submarine operations we can only speculate on their heroism, much of which is lost in the great ocean depths.
If you wish to get a sense of the commitment the U.S Submarine Force has shown in it’s 100 plus year history I recommend visiting the “On Eternal Patrol” website and browse through the both peacetime and wartime listings of both Lost Boats and Crews.
Much is owed to this a small segment of the military and Navy who remain on eternal patrol.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
I found a speech written by a WWII Submarine Veteran Billy Grieves.
From what I could find out about the speech it was presented at a Submarine Memorial Dedication in 1993. I was deeply moved by the words in this speech which gave me a renewed appreciation for the WWII Submariner that were our predecessors. Their dedication and sacrifice is a timeless reflection to ones devotion to duty and country.
I have re- presented the speech......(more here).
Thursday, May 25, 2006
There's a very interesting article in the new issue of Sea Power magazine about the Navy's plan to develop an "anti-torpedo torpedo". The article is chock-full of some really good information. Excerpts:
"A submarine-launched torpedo, typically 21 inches in diameter, is difficult to counter and evade. It travels at relatively high speeds (more than 40 knots) — providing very little reaction time — and is difficult for a surface ship to spot and track. No existing weapons, such as naval gun systems, are effective against torpedoes without a lucky hit.
"Surface ships can deploy the Nixie, an acoustic jammer towed behind the ship, to confuse an incoming torpedo. And submarines can eject countermeasures such as noisemakers to decoy incoming homing torpedoes away from their target.
"The Navy now is procuring similar expendable countermeasures that can be launched from a surface ship.
"The ATT is 6.75 inches in diameter, 105 inches long, weighs approximately 200 pounds and is powered by a stored chemical-energy propulsion system — which uses steam created by chemical reaction — similar to that used in the Navy’s Mk50 lightweight torpedo. It is designed to operate in the noisy, turbulent wakes of ships, where it could intercept wake-homing torpedoes.
"The ATT could be adapted to be launched from the common surface-vessel torpedo tube launcher — currently used to launch larger antisubmarine torpedoes — and from the standard Rolling Airframe Missile launcher installed on many surface combatants."
Later on, the article mentions that they started a project like this back in the 80's, but it didn't work because we didn't have the computer processing power. Now we do:
"The Navy made abortive efforts to develop ATTs during the naval build-up of the early 1980s. One example, a version of the service’s standard Mk46 lightweight, 12.75-inch-diameter antisubmarine torpedo, designed for launch from aircraft and surface ships, was modified as an ATT but failed its operational evaluation — its final exam — in 1994 and was canceled.
"What makes an ATT achievable now are advances in the “miniaturization of electronics and the subsequent increases in microprocessor computational capability,” said Bock. In countering an incoming torpedo, “the ATT must be able to very rapidly process all of the acoustic information availability and make timely maneuvers in order to intercept the incoming threat.”
If the ATT ends up working (they're going to do some prototype testing later this year, with possible deployment in 2012, according to the article) it'll be a huge advance in submarine warfare. This will be one tool we'll really need to make sure the Chinese don't get ahold of.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
USS Topeka (SSN 754) on '24'[Crossposted from Unconsidered Trifles]
Anybody see the two-hour season finale of 24? For you sub vets, what did you think of the opening scenes on board the "Russian" submarine (aka USS Topeka)?
I wasn't bothered by the fact that they played a bit fast and loose with the facts--I was instead (a.) too dorkily nostalgic to see a boat that I didn't mind (b.) very impressed by their creative use of the restricted spaces of the forward compartment (& topside) -- can you imagine trying to film a hit TV show there!?
There's also this nice bit of info:
Some local sailors even collected off-duty pay as extras, Anderson says, and the Hyatt Islandia rented about 150 rooms to the cast and crew.But what about you? Did you like the way they used the boat? Did you see any sailor extras that you recognized?
Above all--did you enjoy the season finale?! This was my first season watching 24--what can you tell me about what to expect next year?
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
In a story that's opposite that of WillyShake (submarine nuke turned English Lit guy), DefenseLINK has a profile of a submarine officer who started his career as an English major at the Academy:
"Backhaus graduated from the academy in 2001 with a major in English. He earned a master's degree in literature, then went on to nuclear power school and the submarine fleet, an unconventional move for a non-engineering major. He returned in January for a shore tour to teach alongside his former professors in the English department.
"Backhaus said that while attending the academy he thought the midshipmen who wanted to be submariners were all "big geeks."
"That's a stereotype that's out there," he said. He told himself as a plebe -- freshman in academy jargon -- "I'm never going to be a submariner; that just sounds terrible."
As the story implies, most submarine officers have technical majors in college; I'm not sure if the rule's still in force, but I remember that there was generally a limit of 10% of all submarine officers chosen for any year group that could have non-technical majors.
On USS Topeka, we had one JO when I was there who had been a poli sci major -- inevitably, we called him our zampolit. Since all the line officers who get to the boat have made it through the nuke pipeline, there really isn't any difference between any of them, but I think there's still a little bit of a "huh?" reaction people have whenever they see a liberal arts guy on a boat.
Friday, May 19, 2006
cross post from the sub report blogeric has posted a great writeup on his blog about submarine websites, and preserving our submarine heritage on the internet.
"There is a good probability that a website already exist or has existed on your former submarine. Perhaps maybe today, you could do a search for that website. The easiest way is to use your favorite search engine and type in the name and Hull number. There are also other venues to find a submarine site of interest. "
i had one up for the seawolf for years, but the traffic dwindled to zero, so i killed the site, except for the sailing list.
check out his post.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Why they were called "Pig Boats".. a nostalgic looksee....
Well Sir...had the opportunity this day to tawk with an old shipmate from back in the 60's...you know how it goes...one topic leads to anuther. After we got done reminiscin bout some of our adventure's and lie'n t'each other bout how many times we used to get laid on liberty.....a ton of old memories came back so I decided to do a little piece about the "Guppy's"...y'all know...Fleet Boats. Did some lookin around on the web and found some good pix t'go with the article....so...
If'n y'all have a mind to.....old bubblheads, nukies or new.....take a swing over t'the Cookshack and have a good read bout the old days......Cookie.....
Submarine Beach ReadsNeed something to read this summer?
I've posted my review of two outstanding submarine fiction novels by R. Cameron Cooke, Pride Runs Deep and Rise to Victory, on my blog HERE.
Thanks to Bothenook for introducing me to Cooke's fiction! If anyone has read any biographies or interviews with R. Cameron Cooke, please email me the links or else the bibliographic information--I'd love to learn more about him, and especially what he might be working on next.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Submarines, Always Silent and Stranger Than FictionMy brother who was never a submariner, played one of the Hunley's crewmen in a made for TV movie. Subsequently, when I got my first civilian job after real submarine service, my new employer assigned me to play a foreigner in a promotional video produced for a large trade association. Later, our cousin would become a real Hollywood actor and director (he was one of those evil terrorists in Die Hard). Some might say we played the good, the bad and the ugly. You can deduce which one I was.
What real celebrity can you think of who joined the Navy at 18, and found himself on a missile-carrying submarine? This biography also says "[he] Served in the US Naval Submarine Corps (sic) stationed in Southeast Asia." (I am going to guess that like healthy sub sailors you already cheated and looked at the foregoing links, so that leaves only this question): What was the hull number of his submarine? I have no clue yet.
Next, one Bernard Schwartz enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 17, in 1942. Following his Submarine schooling at Groton, he joined WWII, already in progress. After Mare Island he was on to Guam, where he found himself aboard AS-19 in submarine Relief Crew 202. "Whenever a sub came in after a war patrol, they would tie up alongside the tender and the crew would go on liberty." He said. "We would go aboard then and clean it up and scrape the barnacles off from the sides. It was hard work sure, but it didn't matter. This was great work for those of us waiting to be assigned to a submarine. It was great practice to get those submarines ready to go back out on patrol."
He never got assigned to a submarine, but he was able to make a short run on USS DRAGONET (SS-293) before the war ended. "I wanted to qualify submarines so badly" he remembered. Schwartz would later star as Lt. (j.g.) Nicholas Holden in Operation Petticoat (1959) with Cary Grant.
This time, I know you already looked at the link and photos so you know Schwartz's more famous identity. I do know where the Dragonet was sunk, however.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
[Intel Source: The Sub Report] National Geographic has a great video (almost 3 minutes) of USS Virginia (SSN 774) over at their website. It's worth a look; in addition to some great time-lapse phototography of the boat moving around the construction yard, it also has the best below-deck footage I've ever seen -- much better than the few pictures I was able to find last year. It's worth your while to watch it; I got a screen capture of the Control Room to pique your interest:
Monday, May 15, 2006
introducing one of the bubblehead computer godsthis is a cross post from a geezer's corner
man, am i glad to be able to introduce this guy. i'd like to direct your attention to Myron Howard's blog. for those of you bubbleheads that frequent Martini's BBS you are already familiar with myron. he's been instrumental in keeping a lot of submarine related info up and running over the years. and now he's doing a blog. very very cool. just to whet your appetites, here's a post about Getting my dolphins and Don't piss off the COB. welcome to the bubblesphere myron. glad to have you aboard."
Friday, May 12, 2006
the sub school escape trainer ... the tower
bothenook sez....check it out.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Iranian Order of BattleApropos of Lubber's thoughtful post, does anyone know or have the order of battle for the Iranian Navy? I'm particularly interested in their sub force, of course, but would like to get a better picture of what our boats might be up against in the near future.
Thanks in advance! ...and if you haven't checked-out Lubber's post, be sure to do so--perhaps we can have a discussion here?
In fact, if there are several of you who have expertise in littoral ops/warfare, the Iranian fleet, counter-diesel tactics, etc. then perhaps we should hold a kind of on-line "academic conference"--basically a day or two of focused postings on a narrow set of topics.
What do you think?
Friday, May 05, 2006
keeping your act together underwaya crosspost from my blog read the whole post at the link
"vigilis over at Molten Eagle has posted a "compare and contrast" about the amount of room in a super-max prison and a typical submarine. i responded, and thought a little post expanding the thought was in order."
i think i might have posted something similar a long time ago, and didn't get many responsed. i thought i'd try again.
so what did YOU do to keep your sanity while underway?
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Boot spray manufactured by Canadian company responsible for sickening lumberjacks and killing kittensIs it a sad testament to being a submarine nuke that the first thing that came to my mind upon reading the above headline was "what does cooling water to a turbine exhaust boot have to do with lumberjacks?"
What everyday phrases trigger the weird "you've been a submariner/nuke too long" thoughts in you? (And don't even try to say you've never answered your home phone with "Maneuvering, Electrical Operator" or "Wardroom, Duty Officer", either...I know better...)